In thinking about what I wanted to write this month, it weighed heavily that I needed to share what has been occupying my mind and heart BIG TIME.
I can’t help but believe that if it’s prevalent for me, it might be for you. I don’t necessarily have a “how-to”, an answer or a solution for you, but I’ll give you honesty and what I’ve been walking through. I think sometimes the process, journey, learning and unlearning shape us far more than a “how-to” anyway, so I hope this is thought-provoking!
The thing I’ve been wrestling with in regards to fear are these questions: Is this fear or is this intuition? Do I “trust my gut” or challenge my thinking? Should I say no to things I fear or should I lean into them? As I’ve looked to resources and thought leaders that I trust (podcasts forever and ever, amen. I’ll link below!) I’ve found a few recurring themes that have resonated so deeply and helped me immensely.
- Fear is caused by my thoughts.
- Fear doesn’t mean stop.
- I don’t have to be fearless in order to do something.
- Taking action while I feel fear is powerful.
Fear is a feeling; it’s not a true, hard reality (contrary to what we might believe). Our thoughts create our feelings. So, for example, you might feel fear when you hear a loud “pop” noise at an event. The noise didn’t cause your fear, your thought of “I think I just heard a gunshot” did. Now, let’s take this into business and life terms. Think about an opportunity or a situation you’re experiencing that you’re feeling fearful about. Can you see what thought is causing your fear?
Fear doesn’t mean stop. Also, fearlessness is NOT a prerequisite for doing the thing. That leads to number four: to take action while you feel fear is to remember your own power. YOU get to choose to take the action despite how you feel; fear doesn’t rule you. How incredible is that? Okay, let’s rewind a bit. Fear doesn’t mean stop — so why do we stop when we feel it? For me personally, fear is an icky feeling. When I feel it, I make it mean that something went wrong and that I should stop. When in reality, I could be making beautiful change and growing exponentially. But hard, scary things make me feel vulnerable, I get fearful of the unknown and I stop. As human beings, we stop when we feel fear because we are trying to protect ourselves and keep ourselves “safe” but in a LOT of situations, we are limiting the progress and opportunity for growth when we make fear out to mean “stop”.
Is it just me, or do you also place the expectation on yourself that “being ready” to do something includes feeling fearless? Well, that is an unnecessary pressure to place on yourself. And I am so preaching to the choir on that one. You will gain confidence and fearlessness as you do the things. Chances are, you’re probably not going to ditch the fear completely before you do it and that’s okay! The more you get used to “going for it” even when you feel fear, the more evidence you’ll build up that you did it when you felt fearful. But for now, you might be like me, and you might feel like this whole taking action while feeling fear is new. Gosh I am feeeeeling that right now. I have always stopped or quit when I’ve felt fear before. But this time I want something different and I want to let fear exist in my life. It can come along for the ride as I do the things I want to do, it doesn’t have to disappear. But it can’t dictate what I do or don’t do. I get to dictate what I do or don’t do, and I get to learn from it.
Again, I don’t have a proven five-step process for you. And honestly, you don’t need that. If you are looking for a quick and easy 1-2-3 in order to grow in a certain area, I would lovingly challenge you to look inward instead. Evaluate what you most want and need because you already know. Your life and experiences will ebb and flow; the best thing you can learn to do is be willing to be uncomfortable sometimes, be willing to feel the fear and do it anyways, knowing it doesn’t mean something is wrong. You can embrace your fear, you don’t have to run from it.
Alright, I’ll leave it at that, lovely! The two podcast episodes that helped me immensely are Episode 5: Overcoming Fear from The Life Coach School Podcast and Episode 149: Fear from Better than Happy. Highly, highly recommend both of them!